Online Lead Generation Part 3: Pay Per Click for Real Estate Investors

Welcome back to the online lead generation series of articles! In this blog we’ll be going over pay per click strategies for real estate investors. In our last two parts, we talked about making a plan for website promotion, and what it takes to have a high converting website.

Today we’re talking about PPC (pay per click) and generating leads the first week of having your website live. 

Pay per click, not paperclip, is where you post ads online and pay for each click on those ads. The main services for pay per click are Google’s Adwords and Bing Ads.



This is the absolute best way to start generating leads for your website immediately. With Adwords and Bing ads, you pay money to have your ads display in the search results. Based on several factors that we’ll cover shortly, you can have your ads displayed above all organic search results. Basically at the top of the page for the best keywords out there.

Think about how awesome that is!

You can beat website that have been online for years, your first week getting leads online. Of course, you will have to pay for those leads, but these tend to be some of the best motivated seller leads available.

This is because these motivated sellers are seeking you out. They are ready to sell and are looking for a buyer.

Crazy Pay Per Click Competition

Being that these are some of the best leads available…it stands to reason that other investors are already out there competing for them.

Yes, that’s true. But there is still lots of opportunity to get leads cheaper using Adwords than people are getting with direct mail.

We’re going to be sharing how to succeed at pay per click so that you generate deals that have the potential to make you tens of thousands of dollars! This is, assuming you are able to convert those leads into deals and not lose your butt on the rehab, of course.

How Does Pay Per Click Work?

how pay per click works

As a brief overview, pay per click works by choosing keywords to match against searches made by search engine users, placing bids for the positioning of ads you create in the search results. When your ad is clicked on, you pay for the click.

So we’ve got keywords, bids for position, budgets, ads, and landing pages.

Let’s break down all of this piece by piece.

Pay Per Click Keywords

You specify keywords to match against what is searched for by motivated sellers. There are 4 match types you can use to specify how to match what is searched against your keywords (as you can never know all of the possible things searched for). We’ll examine and go over these in a minute.

Should you use a giant list of keywords? What if they worked for someone else?

It’s all about intent

  • Houses for sale – this could be someone just looking to buy a house
  • Selling a house – this could be someone looking for a realtor

If the keywords you use don’t have the right intent, you’re going to be paying for clicks from people that don’t have any interest in getting a cash offer from an investor. The big issue with paying for these wasted clicks is that it eats up your daily ad spend budget so that your ads stop showing midway through the day. So you could miss out on that super motivated seller that wants to sell immediately.

Be careful about what your keywords are going to match – constant adjustment is needed.

Let’s talk about how to make sure you’re targeting the right searcher intent with keywords. You have many options with keywords so that they match all sorts of different phrases and things people search for. You could never guess exactly what people are going to search as there are millions of possible combinations of words. That’s where match types become very useful.

Using Match Types for Pay Per Click

pay per click match types
Image credit: Hot Click Marketing

There are four different match types you can use to tell Google how to match what is searched in their search engine with your keyword list:

Broad – sell house fast

Modified Broad+sell +house +fast

Phrase – “sell my house fast

Exact – [sell my house fast]

Broad Match tells Google to match searches that contain those words in any order, even alongside other words. Google can even swap out your words with words Google sees as similar.

Using our example of ‘sell house fast’, your ad might show up for searches like:

  • How to sell your house
  • Selling your home
  • Sale house

…yes they can go pretty far afield.

Modified Broad Match tells Google to match only with searches done that include the words with the plus sigh in front of them (or slight variations of those words). The slight variations are things like accepting “home” in place of “house”.

Using our example of ‘+sell +house +fast’ could match the following:

  • Sell my house fast
  • Sell my home quickly
  • Sell a house fast
  • How to sell a house quick

Phrase Match tells Google to match searches that include the phrase we have surrounded by quotes in our keyword. So only searches made that include the words in quotes that are in the exact same order are matched.

Using our example of “sell my house fast”, Google would match these searches:

  • How to sell my house fast
  • Sell my house fast in San Antonio
  • How do I sell my house fast

Exact Match tells Google to make searches that are exactly what the keywords is. Nothing else. This is the most strict.

Using our example of [sell my house fast] you will only match for that exact search, ‘sell my house fast’ or the exact search with very similar word replacements, i.e., ‘house’ and ‘home’.

To sum up Adwords match types:

  • use broad match or modified broad match to find new keywords but beware that you will get more clicks from people with the wrong intent.  These clicks are typically cheaper but are from mostly the wrong people, which means a lower conversion rate.
  • use phrase match and exact match for great intent keywords like ‘we buy houses’ and ‘sell my house fast’.  These are more expensive but are more likely to be better leads, meaning they convert better, which means a higher conversion rate.

Choosing the right keywords and match types can make or break an Adwords strategy. You can quickly bust your budget and not get results if you end up matching too many of the wrong searches.

Huge Pay Per Click Mistakes to Avoid!

At LeadPropeller we manage investors Adwords accounts and have learned a lot over the years.

One of the biggest mistakes we’ve seen made deals with trying to start out with a huge list of keywords.

Do NOT start an Adwords campaign with a huge list of keywords that are all over the board.  You’ve got to start with the better intent keywords and work your way into including more. You have to do your keyword reserach! If you start with too many keywords that result in low quality scores, you end up affecting your entire campaign as Google looks at quality scores across an entire campaign.  

Basically, you’ve got to keep a tight ship!

How to Tell Whether a Keyword is Performing

pay per click keyword performance
Image credit: Rank Ranger

There are several KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) we can use to determine whether a keyword is working out or not.

KPI’s Determined By User Actions

Click Through Rate – This is the percentage of times someone saw your ad (which is called an impression) when they entered a search that matched your keyword and clicked to go to your website.  This gives you an idea of how relevant your ad was for the searches that matched your keyword.

Conversions – This is the number of times that people that visited your site after clicking your ad filled out the form (or called you using the Adwords call-extension). This gives you an idea of whether the searches that matched your keyword had the right intent…. Meaning the searcher was looking for your service and reached out to you.

KPI’s Determined By Cost

Cost Per Click (CPC) – This is the amount you actually paid per click that you received.  This will give you an idea of how much of your ad budget each keyword is eating up.  You set a budget for each day and if you have keywords that are costing you too much per click and don’t have enough conversions, you could be losing out because your budget is being spent before other keywords have a chance to be used.  

The more the cost per click, the more competition there is for the keyword generally. The cost per click is determined by Googe’s bidding process.  It’s not just that the person with the highest max cost per click set.  They also take into account the quality of the landing page and the click through rate you are getting.  It’s actually a very sophisticated algorithm.  

The reason why they don’t just go off who is willing to pay the most is because they want to provide a good user experience to the person doing the searching.  If someone with a horrible website bids a lot and gets the top spot, most of the people searching will end up going to a horrible website, something Google doesn’t want because they are giving people what they want.

Cost Per Conversion (CPA – cost per acquisition) – This is the amount paid for each conversion for the given keyword. Remember, a conversion is where the searcher clicked your ad, went to your site and submitted the form.  Obviously, you want keywords that have the lowest cost per conversion.  

2 Common Keyword Scenarios

Keyword Scenario 1:

You have a keyword that gets lots of clicks but the cost per conversion is high because there are a lot of clicks but not a lot of the people submit their information on your website.  This typically happens with Broad Match keywords as they match a lot more searches…therefore getting more impressions but you end up getting less conversions because you end up matching searches with the wrong intent.

Keyword Scenario 2:

You have a keyword that has awesomely low cost per conversion but not a lot of conversions.  This typically happens with Exact Match keywords that match keywords that have the right intent from the searcher (i.e., ‘sell my house fast in Atlanta’).  The situation here is that you don’t get a lot of people searching that exact phrase.

The Best Pay Per Click Keyword Strategy Based on Real Experience

We’ve found that, though scenario 2 keywords don’t generate as many leads, the leads that are generated are the best quality leads…meaning they more often end up as deals.

Based on this hard-earned knowledge, that we continue to gather through our managing so many real estate investor’s Adwords at LeadPropeller, we recommend targeting these high intent keywords over the broad match, lower quality keywords.

Obviously, if you want volume, you’ll need to incorporate more of the broad match over time and test them out.

The beautiful thing about the way Adwords works is that you get to see the entire search the user typed in when it matched one of your keywords and caused a conversion.  Reviewing these, you can find the other high intent exact search phrases and create those specific exact match keywords in your account.

Imagine being about to see these exact query strings across lots of accounts.  That’s part of the benefit of having you  Adwords account managed by LeadPropeller.  When we find a search phrase that produces conversions, we add it to all accounts!

Knowing that poorly performing keywords can drag down your entire account, because as I mentioned earlier, Google looks at the big picture of your account, it’s best to narrow down your account to the best keywords and slowly test and add in broad match to find more exact match keywords to include.

To recap…

To get a better RIO and better quality leads, use more exact match keywords.

To get more leads but at a higher cost, use more broad match keywords.

You’re probably asking yourself, well why can’t he just give me the list of keywords that works best?

The answer is because, though keywords may work very well in one market or city, it may do horribly in another. Adwords is definitely something that needs to be adjusted per market. You’ve got to constantly be keeping an eye on what is working and what isn’t and tweaking your bidding and keywords.


When Google matches your keywords with searches, the searcher will see your ad if your bid for each click for your matching keyword is high enough.  The amount of your bid and the quality score of the page the user will go to determines what ad position your ad is displayed.

Yeah, this can get complicated fast as I mentioned before.

Basically, if you have a page that Google deems high quality (usually based on time spent on the page and how many actions like clicks or form submissions take place and whether the page works well for the device the search was performed on), you don’t have to have as a high a bid per click than someone else targeting that keyword but with a lower quality page.  

pay per click ads

Ads play an important role in creating a successful AdWords campaign because they are a key point of relevance between the keywords that you target, the landing page that you are using, and the intent of the customer. Google rewards high quality and highly relevant ads by both lowering the cost per click that the advertiser pays and showing their ads more often in higher positions. Here are some basic ad tips that, if followed correctly, will drive the conversion action that you’re looking for.

  1. Keyword Use: Your ads need to be closely linked to the keywords that you are targeting within the ad group that you’re writing copy for. The best way to do this is to use some of your keywords in the ad copy, both in the headline and the description if possible. If you have an existing campaign that has converted, try basing some ads on keywords that have converted already. If you are setting up a new campaign, use keywords that relate to high motivation. For example, you would want to use “sell my house fast” or “sell house for cash” over “sell house” because of the motivation shown with the first two keywords.
  2. Call to Action: A call to action phrase can be the difference between an ad that converts and one that just eats up ad spend. Now, Google doesn’t normally let users get away with using terms related to clicking, like “Click here for a cash offer”. Our best practice is using terms related to the conversion action. In our case, that’s “Call us today to get started” or “Visit now for a cash offer”. Including these phrases is important for letting customers know that your urgency matches theirs and helps motivate them to take action immediately.
  3. Use Extensions: Creating an ad with great ad ranking is important for lowering cost per click and ad position. Ad extensions are an easy way to boost the quality of an ad. Ad extensions provide additional information about your business, website information, and contact information. The most important extension is the call extension. This extension ads a phone number to ads shown, giving customers on mobile devices (and computers) an easy way to contact you. We make sure that we include active ad extensions in 100% of the ad groups that we create. Always have more than one extension active. Google will rotate what extensions are included or shown. They’ll even use more than one at a time to increase the space that your ad takes up on page, so activate as many as possible.
  4. Landing Page: The landing page used is just as important as the ad that leads to it. Once you have an ad constructed, use the information in your ads to optimize your landing page. Make sure that the keywords that are included in the ad are included on the landing page as well. If you are using Callout or Product extensions, make sure that the items and text used are listed on the landing page. The call to action on page should closely match the one used in your ad as well.  We’ll talk more about landing pages in a minute.


You only pay if the searcher clicks on your ad.  As mentioned, you won’t necessarily pay what your max bid is.  You can have Google auto-bid for you or you can manually set your maximum bid.  The higher the bid, the higher the placement in the search results.  


pay per click budget
Image credit: Vertical Response

What should your daily budget be?  That’s a very important question and can be the difference between disappointment and elation.  

Low Budgets

I don’t recommend anybody get involved in Adwords with a low budget…unless you are in a market with very little competition.  By low budget, I mean something like under about $40 or $50 per day.  With cost per clicks varying from about $10 to upwards of $75 each, your budget will be blown with just a few clicks.  

It’s not that you can’t get leads and deals with a small budget, it’s just that it’s going to take longer.

Good Budgets

I would recommend at least about $100 a day or more.  Some people will immediately start calculating, ok $100 per day and 30 days in a month on average, that’s $3,000!  Woah…pump the brakes!

But, this isn’t the proper way to look at this.  You have to consider how many leads can be generated by these budgets and what your typical lead to deal conversion rate is.  This way you can determine whether the ROI is worth it.

As an example:

Let’s say you typically buy the house for 1 out of every 10 motivated seller leads you get.  That’s a 10% lead to deal conversion rate.

Now, let’s say that you end up averaging about $150 per lead (not per click but per person that submits the form or calls you).  If you need 10 of those leads to land a deal, you’re looking at about $1,500.  I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a deal for $1,500 all day long, every day!

Even if the numbers were not as good and you’re getting $200 per lead so that 10 leads cost you $2,000… that’s still awesome.  Now this is considering you’re making about $6,000 to $8,000 or more per wholesale or $20,000 or more for fix and flips.

That’s how you look at what your budgets should be.  Many times, you won’t even spend that entire budget if you are managing your Adwords account correctly by testing which keywords are generating the best leads at the best cost.

You will pay less for clicks with a high quality website and landing page than you will if you have a poor one.  With high quality scores you actually pay less for higher placement in the search results and the clicks you receive.  

At LeadPropeller we understand the auction process for bidding and take advantage of it so that our managed Adwords accounts get better ad placement at lower cost.

Landing Pages

pay per click landing page

A landing page is the page on your website a searcher is taken to after they click on your ad.  This can either be your homepage or any other page on your site.  I recommend a separate page from your homepage that’s more geared towards having them take action instead of providing tons of information for them to get bogged down in…. sort of a simplified page that directs them to fill out the form or call and that’s it.

So, what should your landing page have to make sure it converts as many visitors as possible?

If searchers click on your ad, go to your site and don’t fill out the form or call you, they just cost you money without anything in return.   Obviously, you want to avoid this.

Landing Page Necessities

These are the things all real estate investor Adwords landing pages (also known as squeeze pages) absolutely must have:

  1. A prominent form that stands out on your page and draws your eye directly to it.  This is done primarily by having the form above-the-fold and done in a contrasting color to the majority of the page so that it pops.
  2. A strong call to action – you’ve got to tell them exactly what to do.  Fill out the form to get your cash offer.  Your page should also have a large title that explains what it is you do as well.  This reinforces why they should do what you are suggesting in your call to action
  3. Credibility boosters – BBB Accredited business badge, Testimonials, Testimonial Videos, As Seen On logos.  You want them to feel like you are a legit business that they can trust.  We went over much of what you can do for credibility boosting on the first episode in this series.  You can listen to that at   Just know that showing as much as possible about the person giving the testimonial the better.  Have their full name and location.  A picture is even better and a video is even better than that.

I’ll be showing examples of great landing pages for Adwords during the webinar.  Be sure to reserve your free seat by clicking the button below!



We do Adwords Management for some of our LeadPropeller clients and that management includes creating and testing the landing pages.  It takes all of the guesswork and work in general out of it.  

All of our Adwords management is done in office and by Google certified professionals.

If you want to find out more about our managed Adwords accounts, go to: or you can call and talk to us at 210-999-5187.

Retargeting and Facebook Marketing

I know some people expressed an interest in Retargeting and Facebook Marketing.

This is where things are going with online lead generation.  Basically, you can install a pixel that isn’t seen by visitors on your website to keep track of who visited your website.  

These pixels allow you to created audiences with Facebook and Google Adwords that can be used to retarget these people.

This is very powerful.  You can create ads that will be shown only to people that have previously visited your website.  You can literally show ads to people that went to your website but didn’t submit the form.  
Maybe they weren’t ready yet.  Maybe they wanted to do more research.  If you are “following” them around the internet, you’re more likely to be the one they contact when they finally are ready….or you just freak them out.

You can even create “look-a-like” audiences from the audiences you build where they match the same demographics of the people that visited your site.  I don’t currently recommend this, but who knows, maybe it’ll be something that works well in the near future.

We’re still collecting data on the effectiveness of these campaigns at LeadPropeller so I don’t have much to share right now other than that this is available for the technically savvy.  


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